The Oomph. - [Fearsome Critter]
• About this critter: A large spotted reptile nearly size of a dog, it has sharp spines all along his back and big spots all over him. its diet consists mainly of partridge & other bird eggs. - When it finds its meal it makes a loud gutteral noise that sounds like "Oomph, Oomph!" - Young tenderfeet where instructed to 'get em' if seen because the creatures had a bounty on their heads. - According to some, There are multiple variants of Oomph, each described with their own diets and described slightly differently, collectively, they might be a distant relatives of the "snolligostrus."
• History: The Oomph originates from the short news articles published across several newspapers "YARNS OF THE BIG WOODS." 1922-1925 by game warden Art Childs. - it is perhaps the kind of critter that sounds just believable enough at face value to be scientifically sound (unlike most of them.) After all, lizards do eat eggs, and they do make similar noises when threatened, the Komodo dragon would have been discovered & recognized by science just 12 years earlier in 1910 and after all, it was certainly was larger than a dog!! - The Oomph sounds almost real enough to be a cryptid and perhaps some folks actually believed it to be yet another undiscovered type of lizard -- well, we could say all that, but the included story seems to simply describe the antics of a capricious guide misleading a naive tenderfoot camper, The Oomph story by Art Childs goes as follows:
"THE OOMPH - "Down by the old logging road Mrs. Partridge was sitting on her nest. At the approach of danger she scuttled off the nest and hid in the underbrush. The intruders counted fourteen pretty eggs.
“There's a raspberry ratch a little further down,” remarked the guide, “and I think there’s another nest near it. Want to take a look?”
The tenderfoot followed him eagerly. There was the nest, sure enough, but all the eggs were gone—only a few shells left. The guide shook his head sadly. “It’s the oomph's work,” he explained. “He’s a hard-looking animal, the worst enemy the birds have in nesting season. There’s a big bounty on the oomph, but he's sly and hard to get.”
“In case you see an animal about as big as a dog, but looking like a cross between a big lizard and a toad with long claws and with sharp spines all along his back and big spots all over him, get him quick. He’s an oomph. He goes around hunting birds’ nests, and when he finds one he makes a noise deep down in his throat that sounds like ‘oomph, oomph.’ That's how the old boy gets his name.”
[Art Childs oomph story image source newspapers.com. - Aug 24 1922]
• Variants, Tenderfoot Tales: A couple of months later on Nov 19th of 1922, The "Tenderfoot Tales" series which used weekly reader submitted stories based on Art Childs illustrations where published in the Idaho statesman. - They expanded the creatures lore! - The paper describes four different kinds of Oomph:
[Better resolution Oomph from the Idaho statesmens "Tenderfoot Tales"
• Aquatic Desert Oomph: The first story makes the oomph out to be an cat-sized aquatic reptile that lives in the desert. With webbed feet & six large fangs, the 'spots' are instead warts, its diet consists of water beetles and kippered salmon, the reader claimed that they managed to killed it with a mouse trap, the creatures head weighed 47 pounds.
• Forest Oomph: The second story says that the oomph survives mainly by eating sawdust, it collects this by climbing to the top of a hill and throwing itself at trees, rolling and spinning like a hoop, its boney back spines acting like a buzzsaw, the impact of which makes it go "oomph!" - it sounds like a fat man being punched in the stomach
• Rock Oomph:The final story describes two kinds: The "Marsh Oomph" (likely as Art Childs described.) and the "Rock Oomph" - the rock oomph is commonly met by geologists on rainy nights & its diet consists of lava & rocks. The ugly creature was said to have convulsed at the sight of their radium-faced watches. - [Interesting Note: Radium would only have been literally just discovered and begun to be used in April of that very year, curiously, the effects of radioactivity where not exactly common knowledge until the late 20's-early 30's!!!] - Curiously still: at one point during this story it is said to resemble a dinosaur called the "dinosaurs diplodocus" or "Inferigious snolligostrus" [see also "snolligoster" & "snallygaster"] --when they tried to shoot the Rock Oomph, it detected the gun blast before the shot left the barrel & fled.